Turkish construction firms attacked in Libya riots

Equipment and vehicles destroyed as turmoil rocks country

It has been reported that almost 200 people have been killed in a week of unrest
It has been reported that almost 200 people have been killed in a week of unrest

Building sites, depots and equipment owned by Turkish construction companies were damaged or destroyed over the weekend by anti-regime protestors in Libya.

According to Turkish newspaper Hürriyet, protesters “attacked assets owned by Turkish companies operating in the country, burning warehouses, occupying facilities and stealing cars”.

Turkish workers were forced to evacuate residence projects in Derne and Beyda - close to the Egyptian border and scenes of the most bloody confrontations between rioters and police - as protestors claimed they were using housing rights granted by the President Moammar Gadhafi.

“Our construction equipment, depots and materials were destroyed in Derne,” Nuri Özaltın, the chairman of Turkey’s Özaltın Holding told Hürriyet. “They burned our depot. The loss is too big. Our 160 Turkish workers are safe. This is the most important part.”

Erhan Takla, vice chairman of Turkish company TML Construction reported that his company had lost four cars among other goods at its building site: “Our loss may hit $200,000. I hope the events will calm down. It is impossible for us to do business in such an environment.”

According to Erdal Eren, chairman of Turkish Constructors Association, Turkish contractors have completed projects in Libya worth a total of $30 billion since 1973 and that there 14 Turkish companies active in Derne and Benghazi with 5,000 people working and living with their families in the region.

“They have undertaken projects worth $15 billion across Libya in the last five years. These projects were gradually shifting to regions where the latest uprisings have taken place,” he said. “In the hot districts, building sites have been destroyed. Dormitories and vehicles were burned. Some burglary was reported, but business continues as normal for the rest of the company.”

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